April 5, 2018 4:35PM

Marijuana Liberalization Reduces the Opioid Crisis

Two new studies released this week find that medical marijuana laws are associated with lower levels of opioid prescribing for Medicare and Medicaid patients. The authors find that:

“Medical cannabis policies may be one mechanism that can encourage lower prescription opioid use and serve as a harm abatement tool in the opioid crisis.”


“Medical and adult‐​use marijuana laws have the potential to lower opioid prescribing for Medicaid enrollees, a high‐​risk population for chronic pain, opioid use disorder, and opioid overdose, and marijuana liberalization may serve as a component of a comprehensive package to tackle the opioid epidemic.” 

These studies add to a growing literature suggesting that marijuana legalization, not stronger prohibition, will help address the current opioid crisis.